Residents in a Wellington flat that may have been deliberately set on fire overnight woke to the sound of "smashing windows and screaming".
Lucy Fredrickson, who lived in the downstairs part of the Nairn Street property said she and her flatmates thought at first the upstairs residents might have been getting robbed.
Her partner went to investigate and discovered the fire, which started on the property's porch just before 2am.
"As soon as you got out the doors you could see smoke and flames . . . it's pretty scary."
Everyone managed to escape the building before firefighters arrived. Fire investigators will examine the scene later today.
The blaze is one of seven suspicious fires lit across Wellington last night.
Between 4am and 6am police also responded to six rubbish bin fires around Ghuznee, Taranaki and Marjoribanks Streets and Courtenay Place.
Police are speaking to people of interest seen in the areas.